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Then advertised, and auctioneered away.

The country starves, and they that feed the o'ercharged

And surfeited lewd town with her fair dues,

By a just judgment strip and starve themselves.

The wings that waft our riches out of sight

Grow on the gamester's elbows, and the alert

And nimble motion of those restless joints

That never tire, soon fans them all away.

Improvement too, the idol of the age,

Is fed with many a victim. Lo ! he comes,—

The omnipotent magician, Brown appears.

Down falls the venerable pile, the abode

Of our forefathers, a grave whiskered race,

But tasteless. Springs a palace in its stead,

But in a distant spot; where more exposed

It may enjoy the advantage of the north

And agueish east, till time shall have transformed

Those naked acres to a sheltering grove.

He speaks. The lake in front becomes a lawn,

Woods vanish, hills subside, and valleys rise,

And streams, as if created for his use,

Pursue the track of his directing wand,

Sinuous or straight, now rapid and now slow,

Now murmuring soft, now roaring in cascades,

Even as he bids. The enraptured owner smiles.

'Tis finished! And yet finished as it seems,

Still wants a grace, the loveliest it could show,

A mine to satisfy the enormous cost.

Drained to the last poor item of his wealth,

He sighs, departs, and leaves the accomplished plan

That he has touched, retouched, many a long day

Laboured, and many a night pursued in dreams,

Just when it meets his hopes, and proves the heaven

He wanted, for a wealthier to enjoy.

And now perhaps the glorious hour is come,

When having no stake left, no pledge to endear

Her interests, or that gives her sacred cause

A moment's operation on his love,

He burns with most intense and flagrant zeal

To serve his country. Ministerial grace

Deals him out money from the public chest;

Or if that mine be shut, some private purse

Supplies his need with an usurious loan,

To be refunded duly, when his vote,

Well-managed, shall have earned its worthy price,

Oh, innocent compared with arts like these,

Crape and cocked pistol and the whistling ball

Sent through the traveller's temples! He that finds

One drop of heaven's sweet mercy in his cup,

Can dig, beg, rot, and perish well-content,

So he may wrap himself in honest rags

At his last gasp; but could not for a world

Fish up his dirty and dependent bread

From pools and ditches of the commonwealth,

Sordid and sickening at his own success.

Ambition, avarice, penury incurred
By endless riot, vanity, the lust
Of pleasure and variety, dispatch,
As duly as the swallows disappear,
The world of wandering knights and squires to town.
London engulfs them all. The shark is there
And the shark's prey; the spendthrift and the leech
That sucks him: there the sycophant and he
That with bare-headed and obsequious bows
Begs a warm office, doomed to a cold jail
And groat per diem if his patron frown.
The levee swarms, as if in golden pomp
Were charactered on every statesman's door,
"Battered and bankrupt fortunes mended here."
These are the charms that sully and eclipse
The charms of nature. 'Tis the cruel gripe
That lean hard-handed poverty inflicts,
The hope of better things, the chance to win,
The wish to shine, the thirst to be amused,
That at the sound of winter's hoary wing,
Unpeople all our counties, of such herds
Of fluttering, loitering, cringing, begging, loose
And wanton vagrants, as make London, vast
And boundless as it is, a crowded coop.

Oh, thou resort and mart of all the earth,
Chequered with all complexions of mankind,
And spotted with all crimes; in whom I see
Much that I love, and more that I admire,
And all that I abhor; thou freckled fair
That pleases and yet shocks me, I can laugh
And I can weep, can hope, and can despond,
Feel wrath and pity, when I think on thee!
Ten righteous would have saved a city once,
And thou hast many righteous.—Well for thee,—
That salt preserves thee; more corrupted else,
And therefore more obnoxious at this hour,
Than Sodom in her day had power to be,
For whom God heard his Abraham plead in vain.

BOOK IV.—THE WINTER EVENING.

ARGUMENT.

The post comes in—The newspaper is read—The world contemplated at a distance—Address to Winter—The amusements of a rural winter evening compared with the fashionable ones—Address to Evening—A brown study— Fall of snow in the evening -The waggoner—A poor family-piece—The rural thief--Public houses—The multitude of them censured—The farmer's daughter, what she was—What she is—The simplicity of country manners almost lost—Causes of the change—Desertion of the country by the rich—

A.

Neglect of magistrates—The militia principally in fault—The new recruit,
and his transformation—Reflection on bodies corporate—The love of rural
objects natural to all, and never to be totally extinguished.

Hark! 'tis the twanging horn! o'er yonder bridge
That with its wearisome but needful length
Bestrides the wintry flood, in which the moon
Sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright;
He comes, the herald of a noisy world.
With spattered boots, strapped waist, and frozen locks.
News from all nations lumbering at his back.
True to his charge the close-packed load behind,
Yet careless what he brings, his one concern
Is to conduct it to the destined inn,
And having dropped the expected bag—pass on.
He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch,
Cold and yet cheerful: messenger of grief
Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some,
To him indifferent whether grief or joy,
Houses in ashes, and the fall of stocks,
Births, deaths, and marriages, epistles wet
With tears that trickled down the writer's checks
Fast as the periods from his fluent quill,
Or charged with amorous sighs of absent swains
Or nymphs responsive, equally affect
His horse and him, unconscious of them all.
But oh the important budget ! ushered in
With such heart-shaking music, who can say
What are its tidings? Have our troops awaked?
Or do they still, as if with opium drugged,
Snore to the murmurs of the Atlantic wave?
Is India free? and does she wear her plumed
And jewelled turban with a smile of peace,
Or do we grind her still? The grand debate,
The popular harangue, the tart reply,
The logic and the wisdom and the wit
And the loud laugh—I long to know them all;
I burn to set the imprisoned wranglers free,
And give them voice and utterance once again.
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
Not such his evening, who with shining face
Sweats in the crowded theatre, and squeezed
And bored with elbow-points through both his sides,
Out-scolds the ranting actor on the stage.
Nor his, who patient stands till his feet throb
And his head thumps, to feed upon the breath
Of patriots bursting with heroic rage,
Or placemen, all tranquillity and smiles.

This folio of four pages, happy work!

Which not even critics criticise, that holds

Inquisitive attention while I read

Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair,

Though eioquent themselves, yet fear to break,

What is it but a map of busy life,

Its fluctuations and its vast concerns?

Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge

That tempts ambition. On the summit, see,

The seals of office glitter in his eyes;

He climbs, he pants, he grasps them. At his heels,

Clo>e at his heels, a demagogue ascends,

And with a dexterous jerk soon twists him down

And wins them, but to lose them in his turn;

Here rills of oily eloquence in soft

Meanders lubricate the course they take;

The modest speaker is ashamed and grieved

To engross a moment's notice, and yet begs,

Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts,

However trivial all that he conceives.

Sweet bashfulness! it claims, at least, this praise,

The dearth of information and good sense

That it foretells us, always comes to pass.

Cataracts of declamation thunder here.

There forests of no meaning spread the page

In which all comprehension wanders lost;

While fields of pleasantry amuse us there,

With merry descants on a nation's woes.

The rest appears a wilderness of strange

But gay confusion, roses for the cheeks

And lilies for the brows of faded age,

Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald,.

Heaven, earth, and ocean plundered of their sweets,

Nectareous essences, Olympian dews,

Sermons and city feasts and favourite airs,

Ethereal journeys, submarine exploits,

And Katterfelto with his hair on end

At his own wonders, wondering for his bread.

'Tis pleasant through the loop-holes of retreat
To peep at such a world. To see the stir
Of the great Babel and not feel the crowd.
To hear the roar she sends through all her gates
At a safe distance, where the dymg sound
Falls a soft murmur on the uninjured ear.
Thus sitting and surveying thus at ease,
The globe and its concerns, I seem advanced
To some secure and more than mortal height,
That liberates and exempts me from them all.
It turns submitted to my view, turns round
With all its generations; I behold
The tumult and am still. The sound of w?
Has lost its terrors ere it reaches me,

Grieves but alarms me not. I mourn the pride

And avarice that make man a wolf to man,

Hear the faint echo of those brazen throats

By which he speaks the language of his heart,

And sigh, but never tremble at the sound.

He travels and expatiates, as the bee

From flower to flower, so he from land to land;

The manners, customs, policy of all

Pay contribution to the store he gleans;

He sucks intelligence In every clime,

And spreads the honey of his deep research

At his return, a rich repast for me.

He travels, and I too. I tread his deck,

Ascend his topmast, through his peering eyes

Discover countries, with a kindred heart

Suffer his woes and share in his escapes,

While fancy, like the finger of a clock,

Runs the great circuit, and is still at home.

O winter! ruler of the inverted year, Thy scattered hair with sleet like ashes filled, Thy breath congealed upon thy lips, thy cheeks Fringed with a beard made white with other snows Than those of age ; thy forehead wrapt in clouds, A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne A sliding car indebted to no wheels, But urged by storms along its slippery way; I love thee, all unlovely as thou seemest, And dreaded as thou art. Thou hold'st the sun A prisoner in the yet undawning east, Shortening his journey between morn and noon, And hurrying him impatient of his stay Down to the rosy west. But kindly still Compensating his loss with added hours Of social converse and instructive ease, And gathering at short notice in one group, The family dispersed, and fixing thought Not less dispersed by daylight and its cares. I crown thee king of intimate delights, Fire-side enjoyments, home-born happiness, And all the comforts that the lowly root Of undisturbed retirement, and the hours Of long uninterrupted evening know. No rattling wheels stop short before these gates No powdered pert proficient in the art Of sounding an alarm, assaults these doors Till the street rings. No stationary steeds Cough their own knell, while heedless of the sound The silent circle fan themselves, and quake. But here the needle plies its busy task, The pattern grows, the well-depicted flower Wrought patiently into the snowy lawn Unfolds its bosom, buds and leaves and sprigs

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